Interview with the Chamber of Commerce
Great inventor who won the world through inventions M.A. Dasman.
At the exhibition of inventors in Geneva 2017 Mr. M.A Dasman won the third place for the inventions related to the transportation industry. Currently he has applied for 4 patents regarding these inventions. The Sri Lanka Inventors commission is currently working out to get the patents approved as soon as possible. Sri Lanka has a very disappointing progress when considering the area of new inventions. Mr.M.A.Dasman is a good example for the very few who put on great effort to get the country out of this situation. He who operates his business from Kospalawinna village of Ratnapura district which is 100Km away from Colombo participates in our business interview today.
Please introduce yourself
My name is M. A. Dasman. I’m resided at the Golden Grove Village at Kospalawinna, Ratnapura. My business is situated next to my home. I’m married, with 2 children. My wife and the two sons also are involved in my business.
My childhood was spent at Panadura. My father was a Foreman at Ceylon Transportation Board. Mother stayed at home taking care of us. So she was very aware of my activities. Whenever my mother goes out for domestic needs I lock my brother and sister in a room and then I create simple things using bulbs and pieces of wires. That was my main hobby at that time.
During the time my father retired I was in 8th grade. After the fathers retirement we changed the residences to the village of my mother which is situated in Pelmadulla, Rathnapura. During that time our only income was the little tea plantation we had.
One day I stole 150 Rs amount of money from my father and bought some of my electronic needs such as wires, Transformers etc… My mother saw this and she feared that I would get electrocuted through these activities. So she hid these things away from me. Resulting from that fear such activities were always restricted for me. But I never stopped studying Electrics and Electronics. The villagers always wanted my services for events in the village which were held in poya days. Specially the Vesak and Poson festivals. I also recall designing light systems in pandols.
How did you improve your electrical knowledge and how did you improve your business?
After A/Ls I followed an Electrical course in technical college of Ratnapura. I could gain theoretical and practical knowledge. After the completion of that course I earned through electrical work such as house wiring and repairing electric items. At each of these occasions I always tried to experiment something new. During the time I was following the electrical course I worked part time in a garage during weekends and in the evening. I got a salary of 20 rupees per day. I saved a little amount of money from that and bought books about electric circuits and experienced them practically. After completing the electrical course in 2 years I got employed in the same garage which I worked part time. The owner of that garage Mr. Ananda directed me to a weekend course in German Tech college Ratmalana. He approved me study leaves and salaries for it. Even today I’m very grateful to him for the great support that he has provided.
When repairing the vehicles at the garage I carried out new experiments on them. Oxidation of vehicle electrical circuits was a frequent problem with most vehicles repaired through the garage. We had to find solutions frequently to this problem. Mr.Ananda of our garage supported me in every way for this task. During that time as an experiment I could produce motor cycle wire harnesses. Till then the motor cycle wire harnesses were imported from other countries. They were somewhat expensive. I could produce a substitution for a lower price as a local product with the same quality. These wire harnesses have a quality which doesn’t second to the imported ones. But I didn’t have enough money to continue this production as a major business. So I decided to go abroad for a foreign employment as an Electrician and restart the business some time later from the money I save from the job. But even that expectation faced various difficulties. So I had to let it go.
At that time I was married. I had two sons. All the money I had was spent on applying the foreign employment. During this time I had resigned from the former job also. Domestic monetary problems also arose. During this time people who knew me came to my house to repair motor cycles. The wire harnesses of these bikes were produced by me myself through the low budget I had. The money I earned was used to bring materials from Colombo and start the wire harness production as a very small scale business. My wife provided great support in this. Because my products were very high in quality a great demand was created. During this time my former employer Mr. Ananda came forward to help me. He agreed to reserve a little space in his workshop for my work.
Greatest obstacle for me at that time was the unavailability of wires with standard color codes in Sri Lanka. So I had to paint the wires myself before using them. This was a very hard task for me. One day I went to the ACL Cables and explained them my requirement. They visited my workshop and checked out my products. They were satisfied about my products and were kind enough to produce a special wire production with color codes for me. Because of this my business began to improve significantly. My wife and brother devoted greatly towards my business. Great profit could be gained because my family members were working.
One day a lorry distributing wires agreed to distribute my productions island wide. I also agreed this because I was also searching for market at the time. After weeks I realized this was a hoax. I could not get money or my products back from that lorry. Then with my own effort I began selling goods in various areas. I started importing quality materials for my business from other countries to improve the product quality. I only imported a little amount for customer orders only since I didn’t have a great amount of money.
During this period my products had a great demand but the problem was I didn’t have enough expenditure to produce an excess amount. This was a big problem at that time. During that time I had the membership of Motor Cycle Repairman’s society in Ratnapura. My business was named after the initials of my two sons as MV Electronics.
One day a customer came for me to replace a wire harness. He refused to use my product. He wanted to use an item from Panchikawaththa spare parts market which he claimed is an imported one. When I checked it I realized that it was also one of my products. It had only the name MV Electronics remaining. The catalogue which I include in the package was removed. It was sold as an imported item for a more expensive price by deceiving customers. This was done by one of my buyers in Panchikawaththa spare parts market. Then I decided to go to the National Intellectual Property Office of Sri Lanka and get a certificate for my product. A certificate was issued.
Do you have any ideas for the development of this field as an inventor in technical field?
According to my view the main thing is that our country should have a national policy regarding the development of all areas. That should be hard to change according to the ruling political party. Second thing is that inventors like us should have a proper center to gain technology and consultancy. Also our future generation including school children should be directed to create new inventions by getting the help of inventors like us. The private sector and government sector employees should also be acknowledged and more space should be provided in electronic media.